Especially on hot nights, most parents give their babies a refreshing bath just before bedtime each night. This cools down babies’ body temperature and makes it easier to put them to sleep. Here are some of its benefits:
- Adjusting body temperature. Baths at night help babies adjust to the prevailing temperature. If it’s cold, some parents give them hot baths at night. If it’s hot, then cool baths.
- Eliminates skin itchiness and a feeling of stickiness. A bath just before bedtime usually gives a refreshing and smooth, silky feeling on the skin which babies appreciate. Nice warm baths also often have calming effects on babies, which is what some people usually do to lessen tantrums.
- Some people believe bathing means less germs harming babies especially at night.
However, baby experts mostly counsel against nightly baths. This is especially so in cities where tap water often makes babies’ skin dry, eventually giving way to damaging side effects like certain skin allergies and other irritations.
And there’s really no need to keep babies spotless clean every moment. Dr. Eileen Costello, a pediatrician at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, assured parents that all babies need is a bath 2 to 3 times a week. “Babies don’t sweat, and they really don’t get dirty,” said Costello, as she was quoted on by the website WebMD.Com in one of its articles. She also advised against using baby skin lotions as these only made baby skin more prone to irritations. [INPOSTLB]
Another baby expert, Dr. Tanya Remer Altmann, famous author of a book on the top 101 questions about infants, says the same thing. She believes getting a bath 2 to 3 times a week is enough for babies–and actually healthier for them as well.
Moreover, trying to eliminate skin germs “100 percent” does more harm than good. Good bacteria are needed on the skin to keep it healthy. In fact, there are a hundred types of good bacteria on a healthy skin, according to NIH researcher Dr. Elizabeth A. Grice and her associates at the National Human Genome Research Institute.
Once good bacteria is gone from the skin, various skin problems and irritations begin to occur. This is due to the natural protection lost on the skin, making it susceptible to infections.
Hence, it does no good to give babies nightly baths just to get rid of all germs on their skin, if that were possible with bathing alone.
What Dr. Altmann does caution parents about giving baths to babies is what kinds of soaps, shampoos and lotions they use on them. Baby’s skin being very sensitive, parents should be careful not to use anything heavily mixed with chemicals.